5 Tips for Encouraging Your Child to Play
Between TV, computer, tablet, and cell phones, children are spending a lot of time staring at screens instead of playing with others. Most parents know intuitively that screen time should be limited to avoid the downsides of electronics, which include but aren’t limited to promoting eyestrain, obesity, and bad moods. Instead, kids should be playing to encourage growth in many different areas. Here are some tips for encouraging your child to play again.
It can be tempting to let your child do what they want. After all, they’re only children once, and wouldn’t you love to be able to do what you want? However, as a parent, it’s sometimes necessary to be the bad guy. Every child needs rules and boundaries, especially when it comes to screen time. There’s nothing wrong with having a lazy day and watching movies for several hours in a row, but that shouldn’t be the norm.
It’s a good idea to put a time limit on screen time use – which many devices let you set programmatically. You can also make your children earn their screen time with outside time, learning activities, or chores. If you’re concerned that your child is inappropriately attached to technology, it may even be necessary to remove the offending item completely until normalcy resumes.
Be Available for Activities
Every parent has used the TV or other electronic device as a babysitter when they just didn’t feel up to playing another game or reading another book to their child. You don’t need to feel guilty about doing that. However, it’s important that you’re available for fun activities with your child throughout the week and on weekends. Some families institute screen-free days on the weekends, allowing parents and kids to reconnect without technology. If you’re used to checking your messages or email all day long, it may not be easy for you to stop, but it will be worth it.
Offer Imaginative Toys
Even when your child isn’t starting at a screen, they may be playing with electronic toys. A lot of modern toys actually limit your child in how they are played with. The best toys are usually the ones that are simply built and usable without batteries. For example, Papo figurines encourage imaginative play in pretend worlds. Our Liontouch collection includes many different dress-up costumes to encourage hours of creative fun.
Even if you’re careful to purchase high-quality toys, your child may still get bored with them. One trick that many parents utilize is to rotate the toys they have. Instead of keeping every toy accessible, parents will put a portion of the toys inside of a storage tote and put it out of sight in the attic or garage. You’ll be surprised how excited children are to see this toys, which are like new to them. You can even swap toys with another family if you have kids of similar age.
Get Artsy and Creative
Most children love being creative in different ways. Some enjoy coloring, others prefer writing in a diary or notebook, and most kids love stickers. Other ways to get creative include getting out the puzzles, finger paints, and glitter markers. Our wholesale Djeco collection includes a variety of toys that encourage creativity in children. You may even find yourself doing a lot of the projects with your child because they’re enjoyable for adults, too.
Send Them Outside
Children spend a lot of time indoors for various reasons. It’s much easier to watch them and protect them when they’re under our roof, but kids are also drawn towards technology that’s available inside. One way to get kids playing and moving is to simply send them outside. Younger children must be accompanied, but there’s nothing wrong with letting your older and more mature kids play in the yard by themselves.
Your kids may complain initially, but they’ll find something to do soon enough. You’d be surprised how much fun kids can have even with just a few sticks and rocks. In the beginning, you can help them get started by providing them with chalks or bubbles and watch them get creative from there.
Summer is a great time to reset your child’s natural instincts a little bit by offering them activities away from the screen. You’ll probably have family outings involving water activities, barbeques, and playtime at the park, too, and that’s fun for the family. Additionally, it’s a good idea to incorporate some of these tips above to engage your child in play.